Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress [June 5, 2014]   [open pdf - 641KB]

"The Coast Guard's FY2013 budget initiated a new project for the design and construction of a new polar icebreaker. The project received $7.609 million in FY2013 and $2.0 million in FY2014. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2015 budget requests $6 million to continue initial acquisition activities for the ship. Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard's two existing heavy polar icebreakers--'Polar Star' and 'Polar Sea'-- have exceeded their originally intended 30-year service lives. 'Polar Star' was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair it and return it to service for an additional 7 to 10 years of service; the repair work was completed and the ship was reactivated on December 14, 2012. On June 25, 2010, the Coast Guard announced that 'Polar Sea' had suffered an unexpected engine casualty; the ship was unavailable for operation after that. The Coast Guard placed 'Polar Sea' in commissioned, inactive status on October 14, 2011."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34391
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